Why you should eat Kim Chi (with recipe)
As a Nutritionist who specialises in Colon Hydrotherapy, I can tell you that I’ve seen the inside of more guts than most people. I have seen first-hand, thousands of times, how a colonic can make people appreciate their complex system of organs in a new way and how to make lasting changes to their lives.
The gut is connected to everything that happens in your body and taking care of your gut should be as much of a priority as brushing your teeth, bathing or even exercising.
One very simple step you can take to nurture the bacteria living in the gut is to opt for fermented food – preferably homemade. The earliest record of fermentation dates back as far as 6000 B.C. In the absence of refrigerators the question was, “How do I keep this glut/bounty of the harvest for a super long time?”
Break it down…
Fermentation is actually a sort of pre-digestion that takes place when naturally present bacteria, usually of the lactobaccillus or bifidus strains, (or sometimes yeasts) begin breaking down the sugars and starches in the food. Traditional lacto-fermentation utilises the microflora present on vegetables. Once upon a time, all pickles were naturally fermented through lacto-fermentation, which is why some people use the terms “pickled” and “fermented” synonymously.
As these bacteria divide, the process forms lactic acid and sometimes acetic acid or alcohol which halts the growth of the ‘bad’ or putrefying bacteria. This acid is also responsible for the sour taste that comes along with fermented foods.
However, not all fermented foods are equal. Yes, wine and beer are fermented but they undergo a final pasteurisation process that removes any live bacteria. Other fermented foods sold off-the-shelf are baked, like sourdough bread, canned or jarred – all of which have had the live bacteria removed through pasteurisation.
Five Reasons to Start Fermenting…
· The nutrients in the food are more bioavailable(as pre-digested), so our bodies can reap the benefits
· It promotes the friendly intestinal bacteria and restores proper balance in the gut
· Various strains of probiotics are formed in the fermentation process making it the most effective, sustainable and cheapest probiotic there is.
· Amazing blood sugar balancer. Balanced blood sugar is very important for our health and weight management – you will find you will not put on weight so easily.
· Produces and increases acetylcholine which is a neurotransmitter essential for memory, has a calming effect and can lower blood pressure.
Feed your Good Bacteria…
In the interests of encouraging all to show their gut a little love, below is a simple, delicious recipe for kimchi. It adds a flavoursome punch to all sorts of dishes and is an excellent addition to the diet. Make a big batch – it can be safely stored for up to six months.
Simple Kimchi Recipe
· 1 head Chinese cabbage, chopped
· Daikon radish, chopped, or carrots, celery, green beans,
· 4 cloves garlic
· 1-2 inch piece of ginger, peeled
· 1 Organic apple
· 2 tbsp of Korean Red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you like it
· 1-2 tsp of fish sauce/ Nam Pla, optional
1. Trim ends of cabbage and chop any way you want – thin or thick strips is fine. Chop the daikon radish/ other veg up too.
2. In a big bowl add the salt to the vegetables and water and mix thoroughly. Leave overnight covered.
3. In a food processor, blend the garlic, ginger and chili flakes, fish sauce and apple into a paste. Thoroughly mix the cabbage, veg and paste using gloves as the chilli can really sting!
4. Pack mixture into glass mason jars with a blunt ended kitchen tool.
5. Press mixture firmly into jars until the water level starts rising. This is the key! This anaerobic salty brine solution in which the magic of fermentation happens. Bad bacteria can NOT form in this brine solution.
6. Continue pressing until everything is submerged. Leave at least an inch between the water and the top of the jar. Put the lids on and leave at room temperature for 2-7 days. Open every day to release the gasses that form as a byproduct. If the water level rises, drain some off. If the vegetables rise above the level of the water, pack them back under with your hands or the veggie stomper.
7. Taste the kimchi after 5 days. It should taste pleasantly sour. If not, continue to let it ferment and taste it every day until you find the taste acceptable. Transfer to the fridge where it will continue to ferment (and the taste will change!) albeit at a much slower pace.
When and where your stress is…
I feel very privileged to have cultivated a unique perspective on the gut and gut health. As a Nutritionist, Naturopath and Colon Hydrotherapist, I have seen thousands of both women and men up close and personal, and how their guts respond to various external and internal stimuli. How and what we eat, how and where we hold our stress, how we feel about the world around us. Ultimately, emotions, conscious or sub-conscious, are held in the body – affecting our health.
No doubt you have heard that the gut is the “Second Brain” and terms like “Microbiome” and “Gut-Brain Axis” are becoming part of common parlance. Ask yourself where you hold your stress. Generally, I find that women hold it in their gut/stomach area and men more in their back/neck and shoulders. (You may even find that you hold it in both places).
If you do hold it in your gut, then you may not even be aware of it. Try this simple exercise: lie down on your back, press your hands into your abdomen. Is your mid-riff area hard to the touch? Regardless of how good your abs are, this area should be soft and malleable. I meet many women who’s abdomen area is resistant to massage. They are under the impression that this is as a result of all their hard work down the gym, but when a six-pack is relaxed, it should be easy to manipulate.
If you push down into the area under your rib-cage, is it tender or painful? Does it resist your touch? Ideally it should be as easy to push into as relaxed butt cheeks. If this is not the case, then it is likely that you are holding stress in this area.
How then does this tension affect the muscles underneath? If the abdominal muscles closer to the surface are in a constant state of contraction this affects the smooth muscles underneath. The latter are responsible for peristalsis (the moving of food and waste through your alimentary canal).
You have no conscious control of peristaltic smooth muscle action – making them more susceptible to sub-conscious stress. Becoming aware of where you hold your stress is important: it makes sense that a gut that is less tense is one that works more effectively.
Your gut is the largest storage area for Serotonin in your body. Research indicates that up to 95% of the body’s stores are kept here (1). Most of us are familiar with this neurotransmitter’s role in mood regulation but it is does much more than this. This molecule is not only responsible for normal intestinal function – it is also crucial for sleep regulation (2), appetite (3) and pain sensitivity (4). However, Serotonin is only one player in a vastly complex system. We are just beginning to understand the importance and function of the Microbiome/Microbiota. It is astonishing to consider that there are 100,000 times more microbes in your body than there are humans on this planet! (5)
Resolving any person’s storage of negative emotions in their gut is a complex process that requires an individualized plan: it includes looking at how they respond to stress, their emotional resilience, diet and overall health. However, I have found that asking a simple question often opens up the door to establishing a link between the gut and the emotions. The question is quite straight-forward on the surface and it is best to go with the first answer that comes to mind, with either a Yes, or a No.
The question is: ‘Do you feel safe in the world?’
Most of the time, I find that those who state that they feel unsafe, are those who exhibit some sort of emotionally-related gut issue. If sub-consciously we are preparing to battle an un-known foe or danger, no matter how small, we can be on higher alert than necessary and less relaxed in our own bodies.
- Mayer, Emeran. The Mind-Gut Connection: How the Hidden Conversation Within Our Bodies Impacts Our Mood, Our Choices, and Our Overall Health (Kindle Location 4809). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
- Dugovic, C., 2001, Role of serotonin in sleep mechanisms. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11924032
- Halford, JC, Blundell JE, 2000, Separate systems for serotonin and leptin in appetite control https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10821329
- Viguier, F. et al., 2013, Multiple roles of serotonin in pain control mechanisms–implications of 5- HT₇ and other 5-HT receptor types
Is Detox just “hype”?
In my opinion the answer is both yes and no. These days no sooner has the tree come down, then the Detox PR machine is up and running. Consumers are barraged by products that purport to conveniently erase all Christmas wrong-doings in the shape of a pill or ‘green juice’ with the added bonus of restored youth etc.
“To good to be true?”…pretty much. The word “detox” has been borrowed from the medical industry and now is over-used and misunderstood. The nay-sayers scoff and tell us that we are perfectly able to deal with all that life throws at us without the need to resort to colonic irrigation or kale smoothies.
As a Naturopath and Nutritionist (as well as other modalities), I’m not so sure. How well you detox is down to numerous things –
- The genes you were born with, how your lifestyle has affected those very genes (are you one of the estimated 50% of the population with the gene that inhibits your body’s ability to process toxins?)
- Your current level of vital nutrients that are required by the body for the detoxification process.
- What products you use on your body and hair, where you live (and country folk are exposed more to airborne pesticides)
- Your stress levels, and how you manage it (meditation vs. G&T)
- What you drink, eat, and who makes it (let me be the first to mention PAMPs, you’ll hear more of this in several years time, no doubt a cookbook is due)
- The chemicals embedded in your dry-cleaning, the fabric softener, the air fresheners (please stop)
- Which water do you drink? Tap vs. Bottled. – Evian isn’t the safe option.
So, as you can see by the nowhere near exhaustive list above, there is a lot to consider.
Every day you are asking your liver to process chemicals that have been invented within the last 100, 50 or even 5 years. As humans, our livers have not changed for well over 100,000 years. Are they up to the job? Maybe, maybe not. Cancer rates have skyrocketed, allergies in adults and children abound, auto-immune disease has risen sharply, as have mental health issues.
We are all living in a great big collective experiment on the human condition. My personal experience is that many clients do benefit from detoxing and feel improvement from colonics and supplements. If you have more questions on how you personally could benefit by taking on a cleaning programme, you are welcome to get in touch.